This year, on July 14, the ROC celebrates commemoration of the Synoxis of the Holy Fathers of Pskovo-Pechersk Monastery. A selection of edifications of St. Simeon (Zhelnia), one of the monastery’s holy elders, is given below.
The future saint was born on March 1, 1869 in a peasant family. The most vivid impression of his childhood was an acquaintance with the life of St. Seraphim of Sarov – a wonderworker. This determined the boy’s future, while his deep desire for pious life led him to the Pskovo-Pechesky Monastery, where he spent his days working hardly and praying ceaselessly to a ripe old age.
In 1896, he became a novice, four years later he was tondured a monk, and in 1903 he was ordained a hieromonk. In 1927, by his firm decision, he took the vows of great schema. Since then, he was appointed as a spiritual father of the monastic brethren and pilgrims.
Saint Simeon was a great prayer. “If you read the Jesus prayer, you will never fall”, – he repeated. Rare gifts were revealed in him for his great love for God and humility for people — the gifts of soul healing, foresight, and healing of mental and physical diseases. There are many written testimonies of people who received miraculous healings through the elder’s prayers. The elder passed away on (18) January 1960. On April 1, 2003 hieroschemamonk Simeon was canonized among the other saints of Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery. Since then his holy relics rest in the monastery’s Sretenskaya church.
“While praying, ask God for love. Pray to God for the Holy Spirit’s grace. Pray for God to teach you how to speak and act. Pray for health and edification. You should ask God for good spiritual and physical health, for peaceful life, and for Christian end of life. Pray for mercy at the moment of death and for His protection – when you just cannot pray”.
“We judge our neighbors because we don’t try to know our own selves. He who is busy with knowing himself, who deals with his own disadvantages, sins and passions, has no time for worrying about others’ disadvantages. If we remember our own sins, we don’t remember others’. It’s silly to leave your dead, that is your soul, and go to cry over neighbor’s dead…”.
“Serve to anyone you can; love people and you will be loved by God and people; forgive the one who insults you”.
“Watch yourself not the crowd. It is like restless sea. Be alone within yourself wholly as you are alone in the face of death”.
“Not every good deed pleases God, but these that are done sensibly and in the right way. For example, you can fast murmuring about the fast itself, about the food or cooking; you can fast being proud of yourself; you can fast judging those who don’t fast; you can abstain from the ‘dead’ meat while eating ‘living’ one – offending or judging others. You can confess your sins and hide one of them or not forgive someone or not believe that sins will be forgiven”.
“Wisdom is about wise time management, mildness, meekness, remembrance of death, spiritual sobering; wisdom is about knowing when to speak and when to keep silence: wisdom is also about choosing a right person to be friend with or to trust your soul to”.
“When you are unhappy, don’t lose your heart, when you are happy, don’t get too comfortable (earth happiness does not last long, but alternates with sorrows)”.
“Carry your cross – your temper – bravery”
“God’s cover is above you. You should remember it. Even though there are many demons, they are powerless without God’s permission. The Lords holds him who holds the Lord”.
“Remember there is no one closer to us than God. Fill yourself with love while hearing the word ‘God’”.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds